Massachusetts' War on Hunger, Beacon of Hope as Community Fridges Spread Across Lynn to Watertown

Massachusetts' War on Hunger, Beacon of Hope as Community Fridges Spread Across Lynn to WatertownSource: Lynn Community Fridge
Mitch M. Rosenthal
Published on November 28, 2023

As the stark numbers of food insecurity cast shadows across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where a staggering 1.8 million adults are grappling with the uncertainty of their next meal, community-powered lifelines emerge in the form of Community Fridges - a beacon of hope in the fight against hunger. "Take what you need, Leave what you can," is the guiding principle of these local pantries, aiming to address the alarming reality that, as reported by Boston 25 News, 36% of children in Massachusetts are unsure of their meal’s origin or if it will nourish their developing bodies.

In Lynn, a city on the north shore, the Lynn Community Fridge stands not only as a repository of fresh, healthful sustenance but also as evidence of a community's shared burden and collective response to crisis. In the face of ever-increasing needs, the cool hum of refrigerators filled with kale and school cafeteria leftovers is swiftly met by the echoing silence of need, as people claim what sustenance they can. Emily Bucklin, the mastermind behind this initiative, revealed to Boston 25 News the fundamental goal: "just to fight food insecurity in Lynn and just be able to supply healthy items."

Further, rural expanses suffer their own afflictions: isolation from nutritious diversity. A hospital in Southbridge, a rural sector of Worcester County, has answered the call. Dr. Francis Powers, UMass Memorial Health-Harrington Hospital's medical director, compassionately stated, "Food insecurity is one of the components of social determinants of health."

Watertown, though cast in a middle-class mold, is not impervious to the pangs of hunger, their Community Fridge serving twice as many than it did a year prior and Steve Deude, one of the founders, captured this reality: "You have a lot of need in Cambridge, Watertown, Belmont, Waltham. It’s everywhere, across the board." Seeds of generosity sown today, he believes, blossom into a garden of community pride and altruism, for a fridge standing sentinel is not merely about sustenance but about solidarity it embodies.

The citizens of Lynn have also been invited to support their local Community Fridge, through a mutual aid project seeking food and financial donations to ensure the fridge is well-maintained and stocked. The immense efforts of volunteers are fueling the project, as articulated on Givebutter, "Our volunteers work each day to ensure the fridge is cleaned, organized, and contains safe and appropriate food items." Offering an address for the heart of their operations, the fridge finds its home at the Centerboard located at 16 City Hall Square, inviting the warmth of community spirit to shine on.